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General News of Thursday, 27 February 2020


Speaker did no wrong in issuing warning to parliamentary press corps – Majority Leader

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Member of Parliament for Suame, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has asserted that the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Prof Mike Oquaye, did no wrong in issuing a stern warning to the parliamentary press corps who abandoned proceedings in the House to attend to other individual press briefings.

He says the press corps is Parliament at the instance of the Speaker and Parliamentary business.

Speaking on Okay FM’s Ade Akye Abia program, he added that the parliamentary press corps are expected to cover proceedings of the parliament and are allowed to cover other proceedings which are non-parliamentary after official business of the house.

"For instance, some member of the press corp during the state of the Nation Address (SoNA) almost left with the minority when they staged a walkout, it took the intervention off my majority to prevent them from disengaging their cameras to follow the minority. But how on you do this? It is a sign of total disrespect to the President and Speaker of the house," he said.

The Majority Leader pointed out that whiles Parliament needs the active collaboration of the media in the performance of its duties, his decision to raise the departure of the press corps from the press gallery last Tuesday was not meant to gag the press.

"All that we are saying is they should concentrate on what they are mandated to do in parliament before engaging in other things of the House; we are not gagging the press," he said, adding that "Parliament will always protect the interest of the media".

Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye summoned the Dean of Parliamentary Press Corps and the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament over the conduct of journalists at Wednesday's sitting.

This follows a complaint from the majority leaders Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu to the effect that journalists abandoned proceedings of the house to give audience to the MP for Ellembelle Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah who had concerns about the energy sector aspect of the State of the Nation Address.

Speaking on the floor of the House, the Speaker indicated that he will not hesitate to declare journalists as strangers to parliament if due coverage is not given to the proceeding of the House.

"It is forbidden if they have any doubt to abandoned the permission given them to cover proceeding in this honorable House and go outside the chamber itself and do some other work....... and I want to let the media know if that which was reported to have happened should happen anymore I will......on the fact that you are here as a guest......any, such act will make you unwelcomed guest...

"After sitting I want to meet the head of the group as well as the director of public affairs of parliament," Rt Hon Mike Oquaye said.